When Keith and I first got married, we used to hang out with our parents on many occasions. There were many reasons for this, they usually fed us really well, provided some great conversation with how we each grew up, they were a wealth of wisdom in areas that we were just stepping into and incredibly difficult to beat in most card games; therefore they provided us a challenge that we couldn’t pass up. Keith and I are extremely competitive, and over the many times we played cards with his parents, there were a few instances where we would win. Many times my father-in-law would comically show his disgust with losing. I think Keith and I personally enjoyed those moments best.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to win. I believe our society has dummed down the desire to conquer or be the best at something. We have in a sense removed the pursuit portion of accomplishment, or substituted the mentality of a good, hard-work ethic by rewarding people for mediocrity. The most recent loss of Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife and staff has really got me thinking. What did the body of Christ lose in that plane crash? How were the families, children, grand-children and church members now being affected? To quote many in their own words, “We lost a General in God’s great army.”
In the book of Acts Chapter 12, it tells the story about James, the brother of John being captured, presumably tortured, persecuted and finally killed by the sword of King Herod. All because James preached a message of “Jesus Saves.” King Herod enjoyed persecuting Christians. In fact, because of his persecution tactics, he received praise and honor from those whom also wanted to stop that message. The Word states, King Herod immediately captured Peter after the death of James, however, since it was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, he decided to wait till afterward to bring him to trial. Peter was then shackled and imprisoned, kept in the lowest part of the prison and had 4 groups of 4 soldiers guarding him to ensure that he did not escape. I think one of the greatest moments is found in Acts 12:5 where it says, “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying for him.” The night before his trial, an angel visited Peter, woke him, told him to get dressed and follow closely. The angel led him out from the lowest depth of the prison, without any guard being alerted to his escape, and Peter went directly to one of the houses where the church was currently praying for his release. Rhoda was so shocked that Peter was standing in front of her when she answered the door that she shut the door in his face!
It’s interesting how Peter was on a path of destruction, yet the church was able to disrupt it; through prayer. Thank God that the church woke up after the death of James and realized they had a job to do and it was life or death that they begin doing it.
Prayer changes things!
If you read through the Gospels there wasn’t one instance where the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to heal the sick, or make 5 loaves and 2 fish feed 5,000 people; they only asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus did just that, and He illustrated it through “The Lord’s Prayer.” We are to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Jesus also demonstrated a lifestyle pattern of prayer by withdrawing Himself from the disciples to be alone with the Father to pray.
Together, as a body of believer’s, we are to pray that God’s will would be established here on earth. And ironically, the only way to know His will, is to spend time reading His Word, in His presence, praying.
Unfortunately, we can only speculate on why bad things happen, or why people are lost in such tragic ways as Dr. Munroe. But more importantly, we can learn from these events and start doing what we are called to do. Pray! This message is not meant to bring condemnation, but rather to encourage us as a church to wake up and start praying. If you already pray, find time to pray more, if you don’t pray at all; it’s time to begin! The benefits of prayer to God are truly much greater than you or I realize.
I believe that through prayer, we can be on the winning side of the fight every time. I remember one time I mentioned to my father-in-law that he was being a “bad loser” and he responded, “I would rather be a bad winner!” I actually agree with him… although I think I’d rather be a good one.